Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

15 Jul 2011

Georgia Tech Vacates 2009 ACC Title

According to the NCAA, Demaryius Thomas and Morgan Burnett, among others, should have been declared ineligible. Thus, Georgia Tech's football program will go on probation for four years and it has been stripped of the 2009 ACC Championship.

Posted by: Rivers McCown on 15 Jul 2011

16 comments, Last at 23 Jul 2011, 12:31am by Josh T.


by Dean :: Fri, 07/15/2011 - 12:07pm

So a couple bucks worth of free clothes gets your program on probation and gets your conference championship stripped.

But if you buy a QB for $100 grand and go on to play for the national championship, it's cool.

by Floyd (not verified) :: Fri, 07/15/2011 - 12:20pm

To paraphrase Jerry Tarkanian, the NCAA is so pissed at Auburn they're putting GA Tech on probation.

by speedegg :: Fri, 07/15/2011 - 1:18pm

WTF? So much for the punishment fitting the crime.

I wonder what this holds for Ohio State and Boise State?

by Felton (not verified) :: Fri, 07/15/2011 - 1:53pm

At least this news got me to look up The Dabo Swinney Coaches Show and the one-millionth Hitler with subtitles on Youtube.

by Solomon :: Fri, 07/15/2011 - 4:29pm

The punishment does seem excessive. Vacating wins and championships is a silly practice by the NCAA. Imposing fines based on the offenses would be better. For instance, Georgia Tech could return all profits from the games in which ineligible players played.

It is hard to enjoy NCAA sports these days, wondering if the NCAA will vacate a big win or title in a couple years.

by Kyle D. (not verified) :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 1:54pm

If fines were all that were involved, every program would have a line of boosters out the door volunteering to bankroll the whole operation. You could fake test scores for the entire team, pay them all 6 figures a year and by the time the investigation was completed, you'd have your conference championship, maybe even a national title, knowing that you'd never have to give them back.

by speedegg :: Fri, 07/15/2011 - 11:12pm

Oh man, check out the link to ESPN by former GT Center Sean Bedford's response to the NCAA forfeiting their season:


by jebmak :: Sun, 07/17/2011 - 8:58am

Phenomenal! Thank you.

by Joshua Northey (not verified) :: Mon, 07/18/2011 - 11:09am

That is an awesome letter. The NCAA is a joke.

by Kyle D. (not verified) :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 1:45pm

I sympathize with the kids who did things the right way, but what exactly would Bedford have the punishment be? If you don't take wins away, there's nothing to deter teams from cheating. Other than a bit of embarrassment, would anybody at GT think twice about cheating again knowing they'd get to keep everything they'd gained even if they did get caught?

by ASmitty :: Tue, 07/19/2011 - 11:36pm

What does vacating wins even mean? It's not like Clemson is your new 2009 ACC champion or something. Vacating wins is totally, utterly meaningless. Literally any punishment would be better.

Ask John Calipari how much it stings to get wins vacated...

by speedegg :: Wed, 07/20/2011 - 1:20am

Well, since there's no reason to the NCAA's punishment it fosters an attitude of,"If you got caught cheating, you ain't trying hard enough."

If the NCAA really wanted enforcement, they'd go after the players' pro salaries and agents. That would be difficult, but if guys knew their new contract or bonus money was at risk, they might think twice. Those that didn't, would feel it in their wallets.

by Tarrant :: Wed, 07/20/2011 - 8:45am

Right now what is the punishment, really?

Let's say in another year or so the evidence all comes out about Auburn, just like all the chips fell with Ohio State or USC. They made the money and didn't have to give it back. They have the national title and didn't have to give it back (USC, for example, was stripped of the BCS title but not the AP one and the championship banner thus still flies - it'd be the same for Auburn). Ohio State vacated those wins but the players in question were allowed to play in the "unique opportunity" of the bowl game after the Big 10 Commissioner and bowl game sponsors begged the NCAA in the form of "YOU REALLY WANT ALL THIS MONEY TO BE LOST?" and got exemptions.

Vacating wins years down the road is meaningless, and if you think your program is going to have a down year a few years from now, but that THIS year may be THE year, then the NCAA lesson right now is, pay people off, pay your players, do whatever it takes, win your BCS game, win the title, and then a few years later during a downturn vacate it but you have your money, your title, etc. The coach can leave with his millions as soon as the scandal hits (Tressel, Carroll, etc.).

Honestly, I do not know what the NCAA can do that acts as a real deterrent because the one solution they might have that WOULD scare people (the death penalty) was shown to be so crippling that it took decades to recover from. They'll never do that again - but anything short of that can be laughed off.

Furthermore, the NCAA's enforcement division is so random with its punishments, often punishing two schools with identical infractions in completely different ways, that often it's worth taking the gamble. Maybe you'll be the school that gets a 30 scholarship reduction and a bowl ban, but you might be the one that just has to vacate wins and lose a few offseason practices. Right now, it's worth the risk to any school.

by speedegg :: Wed, 07/20/2011 - 12:51pm

By the "death penalty" I assume you mean Alabama? And that the revenue lost both to Alabama and the SEC played a hand in some of the NCAA's other decisions on punishment.

by Josh T. (not verified) :: Sat, 07/23/2011 - 12:31am

How quickly they forget. No, by the death penalty he's referencing the only program to ever be hit by it, SMU. And they went from perennial power to a team that hasn't seen a meaningful bowl in the three decades since. That's why they've never used it since. Like the atomic bomb, you don't ever recover from it.

by nuclearbdgr :: Mon, 07/18/2011 - 4:10pm

Do the Packers have to vacate the Super Bowl, or was it ok b/c Burnett was on the DL?